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Buchholz done in by Halos' five-run fifth

BOSTON -- Given how well Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz had pitched the game's first four innings Wednesday night, the wall he hit in the fifth seemed nearly inexplicable.

Holding a 3-1 lead entering the inning, Buchholz's outing quickly unraveled as he faced all nine Los Angeles Angels hitters and surrendered five runs in his team's eventual 8-3 loss.

Buchholz lasted six innings on the night, giving up six earned runs on seven hits and collected his third straight loss. The loss was Boston's fourth straight.

"It wasn't that I didn't have a feel for any pitch, it was just that the big pitches I needed to make I didn't make them," Buchholz said. "I left some balls over the plate they were able to hit."

Given early run support as the Red Sox scored in each of the first three innings, Buchholz seemed strong from the start, striking out the first two hitters he faced to start his night and allowing only three hits in his first four frames. Although he allowed a run in the fourth, it seemed Buchholz would once again find himself on his way to a quality start, potentially his third straight.

Then, things abruptly came crashing down. The bottom third of Los Angeles' lineup went single, walk, single to load the bases with no outs to start the fifth before Buchholz walked Kole Calhoun to force in their second run of the game. Still clinging to the lead, Buchholz was able to get Mike Trout to fly to right for what should have been a harmless first out. However, a miscommunication occurred between Dustin Pedroia at second and Daniel Nava, resulting in the ball dropping right in front of Nava. He was able to still get a force out at second, but the Angels had managed to tie the game.

"I felt good," Buchholz said. "They loaded the bases with nobody out with Trout up. I got him to mishit one, and it didn't go our way and snowballed from there."

Albert Pujols followed Trout with an RBI single and Josh Hamilton hit a sacrifice fly to score Trout on a close play at the plate as Mookie Betts' throw from center came up just short of nailing the speedy Trout at home. Then, Howie Kendrick hit a single to score Pujols before Buchholz was able to mercifully get the final out of the inning.

"Through the first four, I thought he was sharp," manager John Farrell said. "He had good, late action to his stuff. In the fifth, when he got ahead of a couple of hitters, he didn't have the same finishing pitch that he had shown in the previous four."

Catcher David Ross, activated from the disabled list prior to the game, also noticed a difference from Buchholz in the inning.

"Out of the stretch he got a little rushed and couldn't find the strike zone, and then they got some hits," Ross said. "Usually, his bread and butter, that breaking ball he can get over anytime, he wasn't able to do that. Just a little inconsistent. Sometimes we get that. I think he wanted to get out of it so bad and just started rushing a little bit.

"Other than that inning, I thought he threw the ball real well," Ross added.

To make the inning seem even more like an anomaly, Buchholz returned for the sixth and set the Angels down 1-2-3, striking out two.

"Each inning is going to present a different situation in which to work through," Farrell said. "I think that you always look for ways to improve to maintain the consistency throughout."

Consistency has eluded Buchholz this season. Every time he seems to finally have figured things out on the mound, he takes a step backward. However, Buchholz said he considers Wednesday's performance to be another learning experience in a season in which everything appears to have gone against him.

"The difference between everything that's been going on this year and last year is a lot of balls that are finding holes -- home runs, doubles. They were hit at someone last year, and I got a lot of double plays that way," Buchholz said. "Sometimes, that's the way it goes. You don't want it to be a full season, but it's the way it is sometimes."